Gokarna is the perfect place for people who just want to relax and chill on a beachside. Offering you a tranquil environment, Gokarna gives you the me-time that you so badly crave.
And with its several beaches and fun activities, you are bound to be impressed with this modest city. I have traveled to both Goa and Gokarna in the past 4 years now. And while Goa is full of life and partying, Gokarna was more about relaxing and enjoying nature.
So, if you are looking for an offbeat destination in South India, then Gokarna is definitely a good choice.
In this article, I have mentioned a few of the important things that you should know to plan a trip to this paradise.
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Also Read: Goa Travel Guide
How to Reach Gokarna
As Gokarna is located a few hours away from major cities in South India, there are multiple transport facilities available.
The closest airport to Gokarna is the Dabolim airport in Goa. It is around 155 km from Gokarna and you can get local buses or taxis to reach Gokarna from here.
The cost of a taxi will be around 3000 INR and it will drop you Gokarna in just 4 hours. You can also take a train from Goa and get down at the Gokarna railway station or Ankola railway station.
Gokarna is well-connected to major cities like Goa, Bangalore, Chennai, etc. so you can easly reach via road here as well.
If you have your own vehicle, it would be best. This is because the roads are slightly curvy here so it can be uncomfortable on a bus. Also, there are fewer buses and rental options in Gokarna, so a vehicle will come handy.
If you are traveling alone or don’t have a personal vehicle, don’t worry. There are a lot of public and private buses which go to Gokarna from major cities. A bus from Bangalore to Gokarna will cost you about 650 – 900 INR, depending on your bus facilities. There are also KSRTC buses which will charge you around 500 INR for Seater buses.
So, if you have an option, take your private transport. Otherwise, anyway, you will find a lot of direct buses to this place. You can check out buses at Paytm or Redbus as well. From the bus stop, you can take an auto to the Om/Kudle beach which would cost you around 200 INR.
The nearest railway station to Gokarna is the Gokarna Road railway station. However, not every train stops here. So, if you are coming to Gokarna by railway then look for trains which stop at Ankola station as well. Both the stations are connected to several major cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Mangalore, etc.
From the Gokarna railway station, you will need to take an auto as it is 14 km away from the beaches.
Places To Visit in Gokarna
Sunset on Kudle Beach, Night Gazing at Om Beach.
If you are short on time like we were, I would suggest you stick to Om beach and Kudle beach. These beaches will provide you with ample opportunities to just relax and have fun.
If you are an adventurous person, then you can also go on the Gokarna beach trek. This is a 6km trek which connects Paradise beach, half-moon beach, Om beach, and Kudle beach. Start from the Kudle beach and do carry loads of water to keep yourself hydrated.
One of the best places to witness the sunset in Gokarna would be Kudle Beach. This is because as the sun starts setting by the Kudle cliff, you see a lot of boats on the sea against the orange sky. The whole view is so picturesque and would definitely leave you speechless.
You can also end your day on this beach by enjoying a meal in a beachfront restaurant or cafe. Also, don’t forget to try the Ice Nutella here which is absolutely delicious.
From Kudle beach, you can head to the Om beach which is a 40-50 minute walk. If you opt for an auto, it will cost you around 150 INR and will take 15 minutes to drop you near the beach.
Here, you can relax and venture into the ocean to swim a little. There are also boat rides to Paradise beach, Half Moon beach, etc. from here that you can take. Apart from that, you can also enjoy simple banana boat rides which can cost around 200-300 INR per person.
While Kudle beach is famous for its sunset, Om beach is a must for all that night gazing fans out there. It is really a very magical moment when the moon is climbing up in the sky beside the innumerable stars while the sea waves are gently breaking over the seashore.
Half Moon Beach
From Om beach, you can trek to the Half Moon beach which will take around an hour mostly. Half Moon Beach is a small cute beach shaped in the form of a half moon, hence the name. There are barely any tourists or travelers on this beach so it can be very quiet and peaceful here. You can also see the rice paddy fields behind the half-moon beach.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are only two cafes here. So, if you want to have lunch, you either need to pack it from your cafe/guesthouse or order in one of the two cafes.
One of the most beautiful and peaceful beaches in Gokarna, Paradise beach is perfect for camping. This beach is separated into two sections due to a huge rock and there aren’t many food options here. You might be lucky if you find a local fruit seller or food stall here.
Gokarna is famous for a lot of temples too. So, you can check out the Mahabaleshwara Temple, Koti Tirtha, etc.
Best Time to Visit Gokarna
Unlike the mountain regions, Gokarna can be visited throughout the year. However, each season brings a different set of activities which you can enjoy.
Summer Season (March – June)
Summers can be really hot in Gokarna so it might not be a good idea to visit at this time. But if you don’t mind a little heat and are planning to stay indoors during the day time, it could be a good option.
You can also enjoy swimming and scuba diving at that time.
Monsoon Season (July – September)
If you want to enjoy the natural beauty of this place then monsoon is definitely a good time to visit. But you won’t be able to laze around the beaches much at this time.
Winter Season (October – February)
The best time to visit Gokarna is in the winter season. During this time, the weather is pleasant here and you can enjoy some water activities.
You can also go for Scuba Diving or Snorkeling here and can enjoy banana boat rides and other things.
Where to Stay in Gokarna
Now, this completely depends on you and your budget really. This place offers you more than enough options for staying both on the beaches and the town itself.
If you are looking for some super clean and comfortable places to stay, I would suggest that you go to resorts. Most of which you can book online or have an option of pre-booking to beat the high-season crowds.
Just a bit of advice, resorts won’t cost you cheap so if you are on a budget trip, better to avoid them. Some of the nice resorts here which you can go for are Namastey Café (Om Beach), Om Beach Resort, Gokarna International Beach Resort (Kudle Beach), etc. You can check the prices of these resorts here.
If you are looking for a comfortable yet inexpensive stay option, then there are several guesthouses and hostels here as well. And if you don’t mind a little sand in the room, then I would suggest you stay in a shack on the beaches. There are multiple options available costing you not more than 400-500 INR per room.
You don’t need to make an advanced booking for these, just take your lazy ass to the beach and take your pick. If you like to be prepared then you can always book these hostels and guesthouses in advance. There are some really great hostel options like Zostel, HosteLavie, Trippr, etc. You can check the prices of these hostels here.
You can also use this Search box to find a good and reasonable accommodation for yourself.
Note: If you choose to stay in a shack, get all the information before taking the room. Some places might take advantage of you not being a Kannada and may try to dupe you.
They might say that you have to be inside the room by 10 p.m. and that they don’t give rooms to non-Kannada people. Can you believe that our room owners locked us outside since we didn’t return at 10 p.m.? So make sure you sort all this out beforehand.
Also Read: Hampi Travel Guide
Where to Eat in Gokarna
Our Recommendations: Ice Nutella on Kudle Beach, Nutella Pancakes and Mushroom Cheese Omelette on Om Beach
To be honest, Gokarna is filled with eateries and really you should try as many places as you can. Just know that food might be a little expensive here costing you around 200-300 INR per person per meal. But, most of the restaurants on the beaches are really awesome. So, you won’t regret spending money on food here.
We particularly loved our meals in Namastey Café. Their Special breakfast combo and Nutella pancakes which were not only delicious but fulfilling too.
A special mention to the Ice Nutella which you would find on the Kudle beach in a restaurant which lies exactly in the middle of the Kudle Beach. Unfortunately, I don’t remember and curse myself every time I reminisce about that Ice Nutella. (Do tell me if you know the name of the place I am talking about and no it’s not Rock Namastey Cafe).
ATMS and Network Availability in Gokarna
ATMs in Gokarna
First and foremost, make sure that you carry an adequate amount of cash with you. It doesn’t matter if it is a last minute plan or a pre-planned trip.
There are a couple of ATMs in Gokarna. But most of these tend to be out of cash during the weekends. So, carry sufficient cash with you for the trip.
Moreover, most of the shacks, resorts, and restaurants don’t have debit card machines. So, you need to pay in cash only.
Network Availability in Gokarna
You will get a little Network on the beaches on Vodafone or Airtel and better coverage from JIO network. However, don’t expect a fast network and be prepared for an intermittent signal.
In the town, you will fare slightly better but not so much. So, make sure that if you are traveling with friends, you all know where to meet in case of no mobile signal.
My trip to Gokarna was an impromptu one where we booked our bus tickets just a day before the trip. But it was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable trips. We chilled on the beaches, under the tree shade, jumped in the ocean. And just generally had fun eating and looking at the ocean waves.
So, if you love beaches and are looking for some quiet location then Gokarna is definitely the best choice for you.